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Thursday Churn: Our fiscal future


What’s churning:

Legislators and policy wonks are awaiting the release Friday of a comprehensive study of state and local taxes done by the University of Denver Center for Colorado’s Economic Future.

The study, commissioned by the 2010 legislature, is billed as the first comprehensive study of the state’s tax systems in more than half a century.

Ahead of that, University of Colorado Denver researcher Mark Fermanich recently released his own look at the broader issue of government revenues and services. The report, done for the Buechner Institute of Governance at the School of Public Affairs, concludes that “Without increases in revenue, Coloradans face dwindling public services and an inability to make government more efficient,” according to a UCD news release.

“Without raising revenues, it is becoming increasingly clear that we will not be able to maintain even current service levels. Soon, the citizens of Colorado will have to decide what they want from their state government and whether they are willing to pay for it,” the report concludes.

You can find an executive summary and the full report here.

It sounds like the DU study reaches much the same conclusion. A university news release announcing the event reports,”Economists are finding a major structural imbalance underlying the fiscal workings of state government will ensure that Colorado’s budget problems persist unless something is done. Colorado cannot expect to grow its way out of the problem, the study finds, and even a return to booming economic times won’t solve fiscal problems that will continue to plague the state.”

The DU study will be presented to lawmakers at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the Old Supreme Court Chambers at the Capitol.

What’s on tap:

Interest in Teach for America continues to surge, with a record nearly 48,000 applications nationwide for the 2011-12 school year, according to Sean VanBerschot, executive director of Colorado TFA. In Colorado, 3 percent of CU-Boulder seniors applied as did 8 percent of Colorado College seniors.

Tuesday, TFA founder Wendy Kopp will be in Denver to talk about her book, A Chance to Make History, and participate in a panel discussion on educational equity to be moderated by Dan Ritchie, chair of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Learn more about the event.

Good reads from elsewhere: